Friday, July 19, 2013

The Hand Me Down Situation

Hello friends!! So I finally did it... I found a way to organize the kiddos Hand me down clothes.  Wanna see how?... read on!!

Seriously with three boys the clothes were out of control.  When Ace was born we got loads of stuff... LOADS!! Lol, two showers and everyone's coworkers' kids' clothes hand me downs (did you get all that?).  Now, I am not one to turn things down (at least I wasn't... More on that later), so I had to find a place for all the clothes. One cute little baby boy... No problem!! His baby clothes load was stored neatly in the closet separated by homemade size dividers.  Clothes that my baby boy grew out of we're just tossed in an old diaper box.  Problem... He just kept growing out of them!! Duh!! The boxes began to get overwhelming!  Enter... Bear, right on time.  All Ace's clothes went into Bear's drawers and all was well again.  Until the seasons changed, and of course Bear grew out of his clothes.  Needless to say everything just got out of control again.  Now, I did take control back and pack a few diaper boxes for donation, and I had some make shift system of transferring clothing from one room to the next, but... It. Was. Not. Working!! Then I got preggers again and really lost control.  On top of all that, with clothes in boxes I had no idea what kind of inventory I had.  Okay, obviously I had some idea but, to really know what I needed for the next season meant emptying boxes which was a pretty daunting process.  After unpacking all the baby clothes, and receiving a new haul for Ace from my cuz (we like to keep it in the family!!), things got really out of hand!  I knew I needed to do something.  I needed a system that would work for me and my needs.  So this is what I did:

My Process

Of course I had helpers getting into EVERYTHING, which of course adds to the mess!!

First, I go crazy on Pinterest and Google Images.  There is tons of inspiration out there and it really
gets my creative juices flowing.

Next, I like to think about what I've seen and imagine it in my own home.  I saw some awesome stuff, one was a completely organized shelving system, sitting pretty in matching labeled bins.  I mean, it was like a personal second hand store in the basement!  Awesome organizing, but it wouldn't work for me because I hate running to the basement.  Yes, I'm lazy like that.

Then, I really hunker down and decide what I want my finished project to look like and how I want it to function.  I make a plan as part of this step and make a list of things I need as well as a timeline.

Finally, I start.  After all the steps.. I'm seriously excited.  It's like Christmas, because I know soon I will have this awesomely organized gift of a space.

So, yeah... I started with this.  These were only clothes that were is CJ's room.  In-San-Ni-Tee!  Keep in mind, things always get messier before they get better (at least in my case).

I ended with this.

 Lol... are you as excited as I am?  The top left are things going to goodwill.  The top right is organized and going to my another one of my cousins, expecting her first boy!! The clear bin is going in our basement for "just in case".  The blue bin will stay in CJ's closet for easy access.  I repeated this project in each of the boys' rooms over the course of about a week.  So they each have their own bin.

I separated clothing by season and  size, summer/spring and winter/fall and used a post-it to write what is specifically in each package (which are jumbo sized Ziplock Bags).  Now when it's time to shop for a new season I can lift a package and see what I have without taking everything out.  Laaaaaaaaaaaa!! That was my super sing song voice by the way.

Some of you may be thinking... How did you fit all those clothes in that one bin?  Answer: I didn't!! I had to pare down... A lot.  Part of my goal was to make sure I only kept what could fit in these bins.  The clothes that didn't make the cut went to in a donation box. When all was said and done I had bought 3 blue bins with lids from Walmart and 1 package of jumbo Ziplock Bags.

I am truly excited about this new system and I really think its going to work for us.
My next task (at some point) will be finding a way of wrangling all the little shoes, and big shoes for that matter.

So, how have you handled your hand me down situation? Any ideas for shoes?

Thanks for reading,


A Bowl Full of Lemons


  1. I like your idea! With 5, we definitely use hand-me-downs. I don't have a system to organize though. I have a girl tote and a boy tote and end up just throwing too-small clothes into those and they are stored in the attic until time to go through again. This has never been an area I've thought to organize better. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Glad I could give you a bit of inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!! I really hope this system works out for us, of course only time will tell. : -)

  2. I am so happy and at the same time inspired to start organizing my kids clothes. Thank you so much for these wonderful ideas!

    1. Thank you for reading! I am constantly in search of inspiration and organizing tips... glad I could help someone.